MY WIFE RECENTLY ASKED me if there was anything I wanted for my 65th birthday. She was racking her brain for a special gift, but was coming up empty.
I thought for a while, but couldn’t think of anything I really wanted. We have all the stuff we need. We’re blessed with a wonderful family, we live in a great beach town and we have enough assets for a comfortable retirement. We’ve spent 2022 working on our health and fitness,
CAROL IS MY COUSIN. Long divorced, she raised three daughters on her own. Now newly retired, her life is one long adventure—tackled with an incredible attitude. Some people approach retirement with trepidation, but not Carol. She was out of the gate with gusto.
Carol retired from Medtronic in November 2021, after 22 years. She’s a registered nurse who assisted doctors with the insertion of medical devices. She has a pension—Carol became eligible just before the company stopped offering them.
SEQUENCE-OF-RETURN risk has long been a major concern among retirees—and it’s a real danger right now for those who just quit the workforce or soon will. Also known simply as sequence risk, it refers to the chance that the market declines sharply, forcing retirees to sell investments at depressed prices to generate income.
Wade Pfau, a leading retirement researcher, published a paper highlighting the danger involved. As he makes clear, a few years of market losses coupled with portfolio withdrawals can decimate savings,
IN MY FIRST ARTICLE for HumbleDollar nearly four years ago, I said I’d claim Social Security benefits at my full retirement age of 66 and two months. By claiming mid-way between 62 and 70, I intended to hedge my bets, because I couldn’t know such relevant variables as my lifespan or future tax rates, inflation rates and investment returns.
And I did indeed claim Social Security recently, though—full disclosure—it was nine months after my full retirement age.
WHEN I RETIRED in 2009, I had two main goals: I wanted to buy a used Volkswagen van—and I didn’t want to touch the money in my tax-deferred retirement accounts. Instead, I wanted to let that money compound for as long as possible.
What was so important about the VW van? When I was growing up in the 1960s, those vans were a symbol of freedom. While I was in college, I remember a friend spending most of his days surfing.
WHEN SHOULD YOU start drawing Social Security? If folks want to maximize their lifetime benefit, I think the answer is fairly straightforward.
Maximizing lifetime Social Security income isn’t always the goal, of course. Some people need Social Security to meet basic needs. These people usually claim benefits as soon as they reach age 62, the earliest possible age.
Others view Social Security as longevity insurance. They want as much monthly income as possible in the event they or their spouse live a long time.
INFLATION CROPS UP in almost every conversation I have with friends and acquaintances. Everyone’s getting squeezed by higher prices. Folks complain not only about where prices are today, but also about how quickly they rose.
Prices today seem shocking compared to last year or the year before that. But how do they compare to prices from 10 years ago? To find out, I calculated the average annual inflation rate over trailing 10-year periods using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
I JUST REACHED my full Social Security retirement age of 66 and four months. Funny, I don’t feel a bit older. Still, I am now entitled to 100% of the benefit that I’ve earned since I started working.
Conventional wisdom says to delay filing. Each month that I wait will add 2/3rds of 1% to my eventual benefit. That adds up to a risk-free 8% a year. If I were to wait until I turn 70,
BOSTON COLLEGE’S Center for Retirement Research just published a study that explores what Americans think are the biggest risks to their retirement—as opposed to what they objectively are. The center found “a big disconnect between how actual and perceived risks are ranked.” That disconnect could be hurting people’s retirement planning.
The study says the biggest risk to retirement is longevity—living so long that we run out of money. But the survey found that the biggest perceived threat is a market drop that cuts into savings,
WHEN I GRADUATED high school in 1961, my parents offered this advice: “Find a good company to work for and stay there.” At the time, my choices were the phone company, a major insurance company and a utility. I applied to all three and would have taken a job with any of them, but ended up at the utility. I worked there until I retired in January 2010.
Today, my parents’ advice seems almost quaint,
I ADMIT I’M ENVIOUS of people who feel passionate about their careers. People who have no desire to stop working. People who can’t imagine how they’ll fill their days when they finally retire.
I spent 37 years in the workforce. My first few years, I held multiple part-time jobs to put myself through college. Once I completed my master’s degree, I began working fulltime. For 30 years, work was just a daily chore.
During three decades of employment,
I RECENTLY WROTE about lifecare communities. These provide a continuum of services—independent living, assisted living, custodial care—to meet changing needs as a retiree ages. The lifecare contract guarantees that, no matter what happens to your money, there will be a place where you can receive the appropriate level of care.
That brings me to a recent innovation offered by some continuing care retirement communities. Called lifecare at home, it’s much less costly than moving into a retirement community,
FINANCIAL EXPERTS with “certified” in their title have plenty of good advice for retirees as they cope with today’s rough financial times. My qualifications are a little different. They’re limited to my eight decades of experience, plus my CC designation, short for Certified Curmudgeon.
What’s my advice? Say you’ve accumulated that magic $1 million nest egg and you’re following the 4% withdrawal-rate strategy. In year one, you’d pull out $40,000. In normal times, your remaining balance might grow,
IT’S FINALLY HAPPENED: I feel old. Never mind that I am old. Until recently, I didn’t feel old. One contributor to my changed mood: At 78, I’m now the same age as my father was when he died 34 years ago.
I’ve been trying to figure out why I started feeling old. The onset of the pandemic and my recent health scare are likely candidates. Before the past two years, never did I worry about my health.
ARE YOU IN YOUR 60s and worried about rising consumer prices? It’s worth understanding how inflation affects Social Security benefits—especially its impact on those who postpone claiming their monthly check.
Social Security benefits jumped 5.9% in 2022, thanks to the annual cost-of-living adjustment. This inflation increase was based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI-W. This was the largest adjustment since 1982, and it affected nearly 64 million retirees. The increase took effect in January.